More than 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Communism in Central and Southeast Europe, the region’s democratic transformation remains incomplete. Transnational kleptocracy, corrosive capital, and disinformation campaigns are attacking tenants of democracy, undercutting trust in public institutions, and fracturing public support for Euro-Atlantic cooperation.
In 2021, CIPE launched its Europe office in Bratislava, Slovakia to expand upon its long-standing work in the region. The office supports democratically-oriented business leaders in Central Europe and the Balkans to strengthen their ability to advocate for transparency, equity, inclusion, and accountable institutions.
How We Support Democracy in the Region
CIPE empowers democratically-oriented leaders among business associations, chambers of commerce, economic policy think tanks, and civil society groups. CIPE’s approach is to listen to the priorities of its partners and to provide them the tools and approaches to accomplish their priorities based on local conditions and in cooperation with local decision-makers.
CIPE supports its private sector partners in three primary ways:
- Provides financing to strengthen capacity of private sector actors to engage in advocacy on democratic and market-oriented reforms.
- Connects like-minded democratic stakeholders from within and outside the region to facilitate knowledge-sharing and coalitions of collective action.
- Offers business associations and civil society groups technical training on skills like anti-corruption compliance, public-private dialogue, advocacy, coalition building, and business integrity.
- Strengthen Local Democracy: CIPE advances sub-national democratic dialogue in Central Europe by strengthening the capacity of business leaders at the municipal and regional level to engage in dialogue and advocacy for transparent, accountable governance.
- Promote Accountable Investment: CIPE enables business associations and civil society partners to close governance gaps that enable corrosive capital and to advocate for reforms that foster constructive investment into the region that benefits the wider economy.
- Support a Healthy Information Sphere: CIPE supports regional initiatives by civil society actors and leaders in media and public affairs to support ethical advertising initiatives and raise awareness to companies of the risks to brand safety from advertising in disinformation outlets.
- Advance Women’s Economic Empowerment: CIPE advances economic inclusion by strengthening networks of women entrepreneurs and business leaders with a particular focus on promoting women in executive leadership positions and women in technology.
- Promote Democratic Governance of Technologies: CIPE empowers private sector and civil society partners in the region in their efforts to advocate for policies that promote ethical and democratic governance of emerging technologies.
- Anti-corruption Compliance: CIPE strengthens the role of the private sector and civil society organizations in reducing vulnerabilities to corruption by developing and promoting anti-corruption compliance and business integrity tools such as business codes of ethics and collective action trainings.
- Facilitate Cross-Border Economic Integration: CIPE promotes economic integration in the Western Balkans by empowering the private sector to advocate for targeted cross-border reforms and bottom-up regional cooperation to reduce barriers to trade and economic cooperation.
- Jeff Lightfoot, Europe Program Director
- John Kay, Program Officer Europe and the Western Balkans
- Monika Kociova, Program Officer Europe
- Justin Witkowski, Associate Program Officer
- Calvin Chang, Program Associate
- Alexandra Karppi, Program Associate
- Stanislava Stachova, Program Associate
Check out the work of CIPE and its partners:
- Constructive Capital in Bulgaria: Forum on promoting constructive capital in Bulgaria
- Corrosive Capital in Central Europe: Paper series on authoritarian corrosive capital in CEE
- Corrosive Capital in Central Europe: Virtual Discussion on the private sector’s role in combating corrosive capital in CE
- Corrosive Capital in Serbia: Belgrade Security Forum Panel
- Cross-Border Reform Program in Bulgaria and North Macedonia: Business Opportunities with North Macedonia
- Women Economic Empowerment in Romania: Interview Stories from Professional Women’s Network in Romania
- Women Economic Empowerment in Slovakia: Report on Women in Technology, 2021
- Fighting Pro-Russia Disinformation in the Western Balkans Requires Beneficial Ownership Transparency
- The business community in the digital era of disinformation – Point conference (zastone.ba)